Reviews for A Beginner's Guide to Magic
ArgentanHeart chapter 1 . 9/1/2013
I must say, the name of this post is woefully misleading. "A beginners guide to magic," I was hoping to learn the foundations of practicing magic. I should have know real magick is spelled with a "k" at the end. :P

In all seriousness, an interesting post. Thank you!
the ticking clock chapter 1 . 2/16/2011
Oh my gosh! thank you! this has helped me a ton! thank you!
Lord Slayer chapter 5 . 11/7/2010
A very well planned, well thought out and well executed guide, well done.

I am curious to know, though, what is your take on incantations?

In most of the works I've read, incantations tend to be an integral part of the system and is almost always in some obscure/ancient and forgotten language, usually in latin, pseudo-latin or gibberish. However, when creating the magic of my own world I tend to lean more towards the anime-approach to magic and magic-like abilities, that is, simply calling out the name of the attack or spell in the caster's native tongue and then firing; point-and-shoot magic, as I like to call it.

Yes, I do use the ancient language pseudo-latin on occassion, but only for names, and the "ancient name" of a spell is usually used for purposes of categorization than for day-to-day use (rather like how in real life all living things have both a common name and a fixed scientific name). A full blown incantation is only used for stylistic/dramatic effects (in terms of adding more to the story), or for more powerful spells that require a greater amount of mental focus towards the spells, and they are always done in the story's common language.

My dilemma is that some of my test audiences seem convinced that if I use the "ancient language" thing at all then I should use it for all spell use.
MikiSweety chapter 5 . 6/11/2009
Nice job. The ideas about magic and how it works in fantasy novels could potentially be very useful towards writers. Or, frankly, writers like you. For me, however, the thought processes behind the world and the magic I create is wholly different from yours.

The major disagreement between you and me is your statement that magic is the key to fantasy, the most important thing. For me, however, fantasy is a suspension of belief, an alternate reality used to connect the dots with our own reality. I absolutely agree that magic affects the world and can not just be thrown in, but for me, it is not a focal point. It is a device.

The second disagreement is how we seem to create our magic / world reality. I make stuff up, stuff that pops into my head or stuff useful for the story I want to create. I build my stories first with the characters or the plot or the possibilities / ideas I want to experiment with. THEN I build my world around it. I don't ask these questions, and I don't answer them… I see no need to categorize or put as much thought into magic as you do So in that way we are different. BUT when I lay down a rule, I DO make sure things follow that rule. Yet I simply do what makes sense to me.

For me, the key to magic is this: Magic must have a consequence. That’s it.

I don’t know. Though I think your guide can be quite useful and does have some general truths, it does not work for a fantasy writer like me. What we want to achieve and focus on seems to me vastly different. The type of fantasy I write and the type of fantasy you write seem to be different… But that’s okay. Perhaps in the end, we get to the same results (regarding the probability of magic in world anyway?)

A lot of what I’m saying refers back to my story Fire and how I created that reality (how I did that is pretty typical for me) so if you need some clarification I will be glad to say some more and get specific. Anyway, provoking topic and guide.
Eve Amare chapter 4 . 6/9/2009
I never thought of it like that. Wow, that pretty much opens my eyes to so much more . . . thank you.

Still reading on,

Eve Amare chapter 3 . 6/9/2009
I love you for this and I'd thought I'd let you know. Simple as that.

Reading on,

Eve Amare chapter 2 . 6/9/2009
Goodness, Tristan, this is probably the most useful thing I have read in ages! I love the way you think.

Though I understand number five from your "Five Questions," I am afraid I am unsure how to do this with Gratis in Petal of Blood. I know I have to work into my story a bit of the history of Magic in Gratis (and I am working on that now, actually), but I am unsure how to make it more real . . . help?

Reading on,

LittleLoser.AndRoloLamperouge chapter 5 . 6/8/2009
another alchemy and magic crash landed on earth together?

Helizabeth chapter 3 . 6/8/2009
Oh my gosh, this is so amazing! I never thought about all of that, but now that I do, I see that I need to rethink the world I was creating. Thank you so much!
Marie Silver chapter 3 . 6/6/2009
Hey, this is pretty good - you definitely pick out points writers should be aware of when dealing with magic but I think you could go further with it. For example, you could look at types of magic. Some writer's use elemental magic, others can pretty much do anything and some only have an area that their character is an expert in. Also there are other ways to pay for magic use; I've read stories where magicians sacrifice limbs or lives to perform magic. I would expand the points you’ve made further and use examples where available. Good job though.

~Marie Silver~
Dust Cloud chapter 3 . 6/5/2009
I'd like to point out that my story Fate Hates Us was written about 3 years ago lol. While I always appreciate reviews, I've pretty much abandoned writing on fictionpress, and fantasy writing in general.

Anyway. Your story poses some good questions to fantasy authors. I do think, however, that it is somewhat limiting. I feel as though most fantasy authors would acknowledge that magic changes the way their world works-most of their worlds, medieval or not, revolve around it. Also, I don't know how much the laws of thermodynamics or any other scientific realities apply to worlds integrated with magic. I can highly recommend a story, Tales of the Sun Sin by Zozma, where magic is defined as the willful breaking of the laws of physics. So in this case, spell-casting breaking the first law of thermodynamics would be in fact necessary. You said yourself, magic changes things, and authors will always interpret it in different ways. The advice that you give in this story is specific to your own preferences, and does not by any means apply to every fantasy story.

Nice work.
LittleLoser.AndRoloLamperouge chapter 2 . 6/5/2009
I'll go with the question at S...Write on to that

Nonlinear chapter 2 . 6/4/2009
These are pretty good questions that fantasy authors should be asking themselves. It's easy at first just to riff on Tolkien or Rowling, but that can become a crutch. Thanks for writing this.

Oh, you're in the "A Writer's Guide To The Galaxy" C2.